Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour today to speak to Bill S-211, a bill that will be voted on tomorrow, but also to mark, as my colleagues have marked, a historical moment. How would we know if we were at a historical moment? I suggest there would be a need, there would be a consensus around that need, and a movement to action.
We have heard my colleagues speak about the need, the sedentary behaviour in our culture today, the failing to meet our own physical activity guidelines, the obesity trends that suggest that a third of youth are overweight or obese, a third who now face 14 times the likelihood of a cardiac event by the time they reach 50. These are preventable diseases. We have heard about cardiovascular issues and diabetes. Not only are they preventable but the costs associated with them are phenomenal and growing, $7 billion a year says the Public Health Agency of Canada.
It is tragic when people hurt other people, but it is also tragic when people hurt themselves. We are hurting ourselves with these trends of inactivity and sedentary behaviour, and the fact that less than 7% of our youth get the recommended six hours a week of healthy activity. It is time for change and if we were at a historical moment, there would be a consensus around that time for change.
On Parliament Hill, we have seen MPs and senators from different parties come together to say, yes, we can do better. We can do better and we are doing so through the parliamentary fitness initiative that has been mentioned several times today. MPs and staff gather early on Tuesday mornings for walks or runs or to swim on Thursday mornings with remarkable volunteer coaches like Phil Marsh and Pierre Lafontaine. The unity in the House has been mentioned, how 160 people came together yesterday on Movember, which will be celebrating men's health in the months to come.
We have seen the work with the Senate, which is where the bill originates. Senator Nancy Greene Raine, Canada's female athlete of the 20th century, did a great job of bringing this to the House from the other place. The two chambers of this legislature have worked together. Today, Sport Matters is on Parliament Hill trying to invigorate us parliamentarians to be role models throughout the country, not just in passing legislation but in showing, as the member for Kildonan—St. Paul said, that though not an athlete in her own mind, she can be a role model in improving her own health and fitness by extending herself in physical activity.
We have seen initiatives in the province I come from, British Columbia, such as Rotary Ride for Rescue, which raises money for people who are saved by North Shore Rescue. We have seen Cops for Cancer all around the country, supported by West Vancouver Police Department. The Terry Fox Run is another great example of getting people to run not only in Canada but all over the world, and I am proud to say the Terry Fox Run will resume in Taiwan next month. There is Ride for Refuge, a ride that has been promoted by the member for Kildonan—St. Paul. These are all activities that bring people together in a common cause and help people to understand that it is time for us to get up and move.
In my community, all 12 local governments have proclaimed national health and fitness day, which is really the point of Bill S-211, a bill that suggests that local governments ought to put an emphasis on one day a year, the first Saturday in June, to get their citizens more active. Why one day? It is not as a token, but as a way to get Canadians more active throughout the year.
In the area I represent, Susie Gimse has worked with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which was quick to support national health and fitness day this year. There have been other groups like that, such as the Vancouver Whitecaps former captain Jay DeMerit, and Whistler's Olympic gold medallist, Ashleigh McIvor.
We are at a historical moment because we are about to pass a bill. It is the beginning, not the end. It is the beginning of a nation coming together, working together, promoting healthy physical activity, of Canadians getting more active and encouraging one another to get more active, of deputies in the House approaching their mayors and councillors, and moving our country and our people to become the fittest nation on earth.